Ahead of his second attempt at dethroning UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington has ridiculed the advice he received from his corner at UFC 245.
After going 8-1 in the UFC, which included a victory over Demian Maia, Covington secured his first shot at gold in the promotion in 2018. At UFC 225, “Chaos” defeated former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos. In doing so, he won the interim belt, a strap he was later stripped of after requiring surgery.
Following that success, Covington’s first undisputed title fight went down at UFC 245 in 2019. In the main event, he was the first challenge to Usman’s reign. “The Nigerian Nightmare” won the title earlier in the year with a dominant performance against Tyron Woodley. Usman certainly didn’t have as comfortable a night against Covington. After a back-and-forth war, all was to play for heading into the final frame. Despite Covington’s best efforts, it was the champ who came on stronger and finished the fight on the feet with less than a minute to go.
Now nearly two years later, Covington finds himself with a new team and another opportunity to end Usman’s time on the welterweight throne. “Chaos” will look to exact revenge in the UFC 268 main event this weekend.
Covington Lays Blame For UFC 245 Defeat With Former Team
So far in fight week, Covington has been up to his usual antics. From a unique nickname for Khamzat Chimaev to his disdain towards former friend Jorge Masvidal, the 33-year-old has had his usual confidence on the mic. One topic that continues to come up is his loss to Usman at UFC 245.
As expected, many are wondering what Covington has changed since his failed attempt to reach the welterweight mountaintop. During his appearance at UFC 268 media day, “Chaos” suggested his 2020 team change will give him the edge on Saturday night.
“First thing that I changed, the biggest thing, is the people around me, the team that I have around me now; Daniel Valverde, my Judo and jiu-jitsu coach, my striking coach Cesar Carneiro, and my strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Lopez… I just have a new-found energy around me; people that actually, genuinely care about me, and they wanna see me win. They’re not just showing up to get paychecks and just work to throw me out there into the fire. They’ve actually been developing my skills and we’ve been growing as a fighter every single day. You’re gonna see new wrinkles in my game. We’ve updated the software. I’m gonna control, alt, delete Marty on Saturday night.”
Prior to his move to MMA Masters, Covington trained at the renowned American Top Team gym. While speaking to the media on Wednesday, the former interim champ laid the blame for his stoppage loss to Usman on the laps of Conan Silveira and the other ATT coaches in his corner.
“If you go back and look at the first fight, the instructions that I was getting. They were telling me something that I do every single day. They were saying, ‘Colby, breathe.’ Dude, we breathe every single day, why are you telling me to breathe. I mean, everybody in this room knows how to breathe. Not everybody knows how to fight and how to instruct fighters with the right instructions.”
Only time will tell if Covington’s move away from ATT has helped him prepare for the challenge of “The Nigerian Nightmare,” who’s also under new tutelage. Alongside the likes of Justin Gaethje and Rose Namajunas, Usman has been training under top coach Trevor Wittman for his last few fights. Since the partnership, the champ has finished Gilbert Burns on the feet and knocked Jorge Masvidal unconscious. While both may have new camps, fans will be hoping for a similar war come Saturday night.
Do you think Colby Covington has what it takes to dethrone Kamaru Usman at UFC 268?